Posted on behalf of Tiffany Eng, our intern from West Dean College
While making a phase box for A New Dictionary of Medical Science (1851) from the John Martin Rare Book Room, we came across a fragment of a print on the paper used as a spine lining for the book.
The medical dictionary’s print date is 1851, and the little bit of text remaining on the paper gave a year, 1852, along with an address, which let us know that the textblock sat around for at least a year before being bound.
Out of interest, we did an internet search to find that the address was the former London office location of Punch Magazine (then known as Punch, Or, the London Chariviari). It took a bit of sleuthing, including a visit to the library stacks to borrow the 1851-1852 bound journal versions of Punch, but we found that the spine lining fragment was a part of the masthead for the magazine.
The original drawing was done by illustrator Richard Doyle and was used from 1849 to 1954. As a nice little cap on our mystery spine lining, Richard Doyle also happened to be the uncle of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, detective writer extraordinaire.
For those interested, the library has an archive of bound Punch Magazine volumes from between 1841-1900s